New Delhi: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attack on the Congress and the Gandhi family over the Emergency, the party on Tuesday hit back, saying he "is more cruel" than Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and has "enslaved democracy" during the 49 months he has been in power.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala led the attack against Modi, saying his tirade against the Gandhis over the Emergency was only to hide his own failures and the "false" promises and "jumlas" he had made to the public before coming to power.
He alleged that an atmosphere of fear was being created in the country to suppress dissent with those opposing them dubbed as "anti-national" and that an "undeclared emergency" was imposed in the country under Modi.
"Delhi Sultanate's 'dictator' Modi, who is even more cruel than Aurangzeb, today gave lessons to the country on the Emergency imposed 43 years ago. By taking out his anger on the Congress, can a lid be put on Modiji's 'jumlas'.
"Today's Aurangzeb has enslaved democracy in the country including in his own party, the BJP. Modi ji while trying to put a lid on his own failures is taking revenge with history today, but he has forgotten that he himself will become history soon," he told reporters.
Sharpening his attack on Modi for saying that the Congress should not give lessons to him on democracy, Surjewala said, "Aurangzeb never took lessons from anybody... Dictators don't take lessons, only history teaches them lessons and I am sure Modiji will also have the same fate."
In an apparent attack on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, the Congress leader said, "unfortunately, if those sitting in constitutional positions will also murder 'maryada' and set traditions, then people's faith in democracy will be hurt."
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma flayed Union Minister Arun Jaitley for drawing a parallel between Indira Gandhi and German dictator Adolf Hitler, saying it was an "absurd and outrageous" distortion of history.
Another senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said the BJP was "insulting" 60 crore women in the country by comparing former prime minister Indira Gandhi to Hitler and they should apologise to the people.
The former Rajasthan chief minister alleged that people who were running the country, their government and party in a "dictatorial" manner were insulting Gandhi.
"By insulting former prime minister Indira Gandhi, the BJP is insulting the 60 crore women of the country and their courage," he said, adding that she was a symbol of women empowerment in the world.
The BJP and Jaitley should "apologise for criticising Indira Gandhi, if they are left with any honesty, truth and polity", he said.
"The BJP has developed the art of speaking a lie a 100 times to make it look like the truth and this is what they are doing by speaking against the Emergency, imposed 43 years ago," he said.
Sharma also said India was now witnessing a systemic subversion of all institutions that "uphold our Constitution and democracy under the watch of an authoritarian prime minister and arrogant government".
He said that the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975 was an aberration and she herself regretted it.
Sharma said Jaitley's obsession with Hitler was understandable as "he comes from the RSS-BJP school that celebrates Hitler and eulogize fascism".
"Indira Gandhi was the tallest leader of her times, a democratically elected popular prime minister. Jaitley comparing Indiraji to Hitler is absurd, outrageous and a distortion of history," he said.
Surjewala said Aurangzeb never took lessons from anybody as he arrested his own father. "Why should Prime Minister Modi need to take any lessons from anybody for you can look from the petrol pump to PM House," he said, alleging that a sum of Rs 4,600 crore from the state exchequer is being spent on eulogising him and building his image.
He alleged that the PM himself was threatening the states to fall in line or there will be a cut in the grants released to them.
"There is an undeclared emergency in this country for the last 49 months with opposition suppressed and PM Modi himself following those who give death and rape threats to anyone who oppose them, including BJP's ministers," he said.
He said for the last 49 months, Modi's mounting promises have turned out to be lies as black money has not returned yet and democracy under the Modi government is dying.
He defended the Emergency saying it was imposed against the Janata Party which was pro-rich and pro-zamindars and was imposed to defend the rights of the poor, the Dalits and the have-nots.
He said the Congress's fight was against hoarders and black-marketeers who were being protected by the Jana Sangh then and today, Modi's 'Suit-Boot Sarkar' is also protecting a handful of crony capitalists.
Another Congress leader Ahmed Patel said an "undeclared emergency" is prevailing in the country for the past four years and the fear of defeat in 2019 is haunting the BJP.
Modi, while addressing an event to mark 43rd anniversary of imposition of the Emergency from 1975-77, singled out the Congress and the Gandhi family over the measure, and said the draconian measure was a "sin" of that party and the Constitution was misused and "abused" for wishes of "one family".